Product code: RE35-450
Media: Resin and photo-etch
Reviewed by Michael Shackleton
The is a resin casting for a C2 MEXAS turret with thermal cover from the Polish-based company Panzer Art, probably better-known for their ranges of resin wheels, tilt covers, luggage loads and general accessories. The turret is intended for use with the Takom Leopard C2 MEXAS kit, though no mention is made of this on their website. The instructions state that this is an 'upgrade set for all models', but the Takom kit is the only injection model with the necessary hull-mounted MEXAS armour blocks and other parts necessary for this version.
The only other manufacturer to offer the covered turret is Perfect Scale Modellbau, but only within a complete conversion set; this link is useful for reference photos (courtesy Anthony Sewards).
The C2 MEXAS arrived in the Afghan theatre in September 2006. The thermal cover was introduced in May/June 2007 to help keep the interior of the tank cooler under the Afghanistan sun. At the same time, a cooler was mounted on the left-rear of the turret. The cooler was not an air-conditioning unit, but a pretty simple concept that worked much like a radiator cooling a car engine. It was a simple motor pumping a coolant mixture. Each crew-member wore a vest (woven with a series of tubes) under his clothing. A hose attached to his vest and the cooler circulated the chilled fluid to reduce the core temperature of the body.
The cooler is included in the PE fret, along with an ECM shield. However, the ECM unit itself is not included and will have to sourced from elsewhere (only available in Legend, PSM or Trackjam conversion sets!) or scratch-built.
Also in the set are resin parts for the two small hull-top blankets, plus antennae bags that go under the turret bustle boxes, all three covered crew hatches and a covered EMES18 gunner~s sight for the turret top.
Overall, this is a very nice piece of work. The sculpting of the cover and all of its seams is very nicely done. There should be non-slip panels on the top outer edges of the covers, but these can be easily added by masking and adding texture paint of some sort - see the photos on the PSM reference link mentioned above. PSM missed these, too.
The casting is equally nice apart from one flaw on the left underside of all of the turret. All of the castings I have in stock (see below) are affected like this. However, this is not a deal breaker as it is largely hidden and relatively easy to fix by the average modeller.